It’s becoming more and more common to see men with their nails done, colorful polish and all. Several male celebrities and influencers have also come out signature polish lines that they proudly rock on their own hands (see Harry Styles, Tyler the Creator, and MGK). We’re loving this age in which men, or any gender, can feel free to fully express themselves through their nails.
One man who loves to show off his vibrant nails is AJ McLean of Backstreet Boys fame, who recently had his nails done by celebrity nail artist Julie Kandalec. A few hours before showtime on the band’s DNA Tour, McLean and Kandalec planned out the starry look in her Nail Art Design Book and used McLean’s own polish line, Ava Dean Beauty, to execute it.
“Yellow was a shade he hadn't worn on tour before and he was inspired by the night sky, as the concert venues are all open sky venues,” Kandalec explains. “I did black stars sprinkled throughout and 2 lightning bolts.”
McLean launched Ava Dean Beauty back in 2020. The brand is named after his two young daughters, Ava Jaymes and Lyric Dean. Although the singer has been wearing nail polish since the 90s, he credits his daughters as his inspiration because of the daddy-daughter bonding time spent painting each other’s nails.
Ava Dean Beauty resonates strongly with Kandalec. Growing up, her father always encouraged her to follow her dreams, taking her on field trips, including one notable one to a local cosmetology school. That fateful trip directly inspired her career today. The father-daughter bond between Ava, Lyric & McLean is a great reminder of where Julie’s passion began.
Kandalec was grateful for this exciting opportunity as it was a full circle moment for her. While in cosmetology school, the Backstreet Boys played on repeat; especially “Millennium,” which dropped in May of ’99—just days before Julie graduated. AJ McLean was her favorite band member due to his constant painted nails and ability to be himself. Music has helped Julie pave her way through the industry, and the Backstreet Boys were the beginning.
Get the Look with Ava Dean Beauty
- Apply the base color “You Are My Sunshine.”
- Paint lightning bolts on the ring fingers using a detail brush and the color “Alexander James.”
- Apply black star stickers to all other nails.
- Seal with two layers of the Crystal Clear Top Coat.
Follow Julie Kandalec on Instagram @julieknailsnyc.
Shop Ava Dean Beauty at myavadean.com.
For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.